Heading into his IBF eliminator with the 22-year-old Californian, Harris was considered the favourite. However, Sandoval flipped the script by scoring a career-best victory on away turf.
Prior to the bout, each man had only lost once before – Harris in a WBC title tilt against flyweight No. 1 Julio Cesar Martinez, and Sandoval in an early-career four-rounder. The action was competitive across the first seven rounds, with both boxers having their moments. Yet the pendulum swung definitively towards Sandoval in the eighth.
With Harris marked up by the left eye, the heavy-handed Sandoval switched his attack downstairs and floored the 30-year-old with a left hook to the body. Harris was able to rise at ‘eight’ but when the same shot from Sandoval led to a second knockdown, the referee reached a full count of ‘10’. The official time of the KO was 2-12.
Posting on his social media account after the fight, Harris congratulated Sandoval and promised to bounce back from the defeat.
“Well guys, it wasn’t my night tonight,” Harris wrote. “Absolutely gutted. Hell of a body shot, fair play to him. I will be back 100 per cent. I believe I still can be a world champion.”